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The long-aspired zoo-trip of two Dutchmen and a Belgian

Discussion in 'Europe - General' started by KevinVar, 13 Jul 2016.

  1. KevinVar

    KevinVar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Jul 2014
    Posts:
    125
    Location:
    Netherlands
    In exactly a week I will be starting my first trip to the ''far east'' with two fellow ZooChatters and long-time friends of mine (Vision and GerbenElzinga). Even though they have been to at least one zoo that we'll be visiting, this will be a whole new experience for me - having never traveled further east than Cologne (although, if you travel west far enough you'll end up in the east anyway, I suppose).

    The trip will include a lot of travelling by train, but most importantly a lot of zoological collections. Having everything booked and ready, no big changes will be made to the following plan containing seven of the species-richest zoos in Europe:

    July 20: Train to Berlin
    July 21: Zoo Berlin
    July 22: Frist day of Tierpark Berlin
    July 23: Second day of Tierpark Berlin and train to Poznan
    July 24: Nowe Zoo and train to Wrocław
    July 25: Zoo Wrocław and train to Dresden
    July 26: Train to Prague in the morning to spend a zoo-free day in Prague
    July 27: Train to Plzeň in the morning, first day of ZOO Plzeň. Stay in Plzeň
    July 28: Second day of ZOO Plzeň and train to Prague
    July 29: Zoo Praha and train to Leipzig
    July 30: Zoo Leipzig
    July 31: Train back to our respective countries

    In this topic I (and my travelling companions, if we're lucky :rolleyes:) will disclose a full report of our experiences with the various collections visited during our trip when we've returned. Even though they most likely won't be of such high quality as the ones provided by TLD I hope you'll enjoy them!

    If anyone reading this is familiar with the areas or collections we will be visiting, feel free to give us any tips or advice that may lead to improving our experience!
     
  2. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Aberdeen, Scotland (UK)
    Very nice!
    When Vision and I met in a different 'Far East' (Singapore) he mentioned part of this trip but I didn't realise it was a group trip.
    For Plzen you need to go behind the scenes. A tour would enrich the zoo visit enormously.

    Sounds like a great trip. I look forward to reading your updates. :)
     
  3. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Changzhou, China
    This sounds like an incredible trip! I'm excited to read your reports.
    Can I ask a question about Poznan? All the other zoos feature in the various conversations about Europe's best, but not Nowe Zoo. Is this an oversight do you think or is there another, specific reason for your visit?
    Travel safe tomorrow!
    FG
     
  4. Zoo Tycooner FR

    Zoo Tycooner FR Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Agadir, Souss-Massa-Draâ, Morocco
    Vision told me about it , it seems like a nice and well-organized trip

    @FunkyGibbon : It has some cool species (199) , the African palm civet (Nandinia binotata) , is for example a must-see there

    Also hi Kevin :)
     
  5. KevinVar

    KevinVar Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Netherlands
    The stop in Poznan is mainly to split up the journey from Berlin to Wroclaw into two, because otherwise it wasn't possible for us to check in at our hotel in Wroclaw in time while also spending a semi-full day at Berlin prior.

    Next to that, there is my healthy addiction to small carnivores and as ZTFR mentioned, Nowe Zoo houses some species that I just can't pass on!
     
  6. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Got it. I hope you're having a great time :)
     
  7. GerbenElzinga

    GerbenElzinga Active Member

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    Location:
    Groningen, Netherlands
    Because Nowe Zoo wasn't that big, we decided to do the Stare Zoo in Poznan as well. Reports will follow!
     
  8. Arek

    Arek Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Świdnica, Poland
    For those who don’t understand Polish:
    Stare Zoo – Old Zoo. Opened in 1874 year. Small zoo in city center (4,4 ha). Now mainly domestic animals and Terrarium/Aquarium House.
    Nowe Zoo – New Zoo opened hundred years later on outskirts of Poznań. Quite big – 116 ha. For comparison: one lake in New Zoo is bigger than whole Old Zoo.
     
  9. KevinVar

    KevinVar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Netherlands
    Took a bit longer than I wanted to, but better late than never. I’ll save you the details about the journey to Berlin, including train issues flawlessly explained by the conductress as ''It don't works'' and dive right into the important stuff:

    Zoo Berlin – Part I
    July 21st 2016 - Two Dutchmen and a Belgian walk into a zoo...

    On the basis of looks probably my personal favourite of the two Berlin zoos, especially if you take into account the new bird house, reptile house and the various buildings with glass domes (such as the Hippo and Giraffe house). Mix this with a very nice and diverse collection and you got yourself a full day very well-spent. Being a fan of beautiful, space-efficient and well laid-out city zoos in general, Zoo Berlin is definitely one of my favourites! Sadly enough we had only one day here because we were spending the two other days in the Tierpark, but I would definitely have loved to spend another day at the zoo.

    We entered the zoo through the Lion gate, the much less exotic one compared to the Asian-style Elephant gate but still a very nicely decorated one with its various statues and animal heads incorporated into the walls. Our (fairly inefficient) route almost directly lead us to the Giraffe House, passing several other species, such as the group of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus), as well as enclosures for Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica), Sichuan Takins (Budorcas taxicolor tibetana) and a building housing various breeds of domestic pigeons and chickens. The house is inhabited by Kafue Lechwes (Kobus leche kafuensis), Western Sitatungas (Tragelaphus spekii gratus), Southern Ground Hornbills (Bucorvus leadbeateri), Defassa Waterbucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa), the last remaining Southern Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri walleri) in the Zoo and of course, (non-subspecific) Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). The house looks very good both from the inside and outside. My only remark is that the house could maybe use some free-roaming species, especially if you look at how well-planted it is. In my opinion the species for this house were very well-picked. The number of species is limited, but I think it shows the variety in antelopes quite well. The gerenuk is of course a superb addition to this house and I hope a larger number of them will return to the Zoo at some point in the future. Shame that it currently only houses one individual of this amazing species, especially knowing that there were two of them there not long before. Lucky for us the single male was very visible inside and at some point even decided to come up to the fencing.

    Walking along the outdoor paddocks for the lechwes and enclosures for various deer species such as Barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii), the Giraffe House was quickly followed by the much less light but still architecturally quite appealing Primate House (or ’Tropenhaus’). The first enclosure that can be seen before entering is the quite nice and new-looking aviary for a breeding group of Hanuman Langurs (Semnopithecus entellus). Much greener and more spacious than the outdoor enclosures on the other side of the building and made out of much less noticeable mesh. The primate house was larger than I initially thought upon entering, mainly because I wasn’t aware of how far the building extended to the back. Since the majority of the exhibits near the end housed apes that were all outside at that moment we spent the vast part of our time looking at the various smaller (and definitely more interesting) monkeys and several other mammal species. The building has two mixed exhibits, most notable an all-indoor enclosure that was much greener than the others, housing Red Titis (Callicebus cupreus), Linnaeus' Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus didactylus) and to my knowledge also Greenish Acuchies (Myoprocta pratti). We unfortunately didn’t see the latter, but since there was another collection on the trip (Leipzig) that houses the species we didn’t miss out on this lifer. The other mixed enclosure housed Southern Three-banded Armadillos (Tolypeutes matacus), together with the various tamarin species under which the rare Graells' Black-mantle Tamarin (Saguinus nigricollis graellsi). The only other species in this house that were not primates were the Sumatran Prevost's Squirrels (Callosciurus prevostii rafflesi). Formerly joined by a member of the Bangka subspecies, but sadly not anymore.

    I quite liked the hallway connecting the ‘monkey’ and the ‘ape part’ of the building, housing Guianan Weeper Capuchins (Cebus olivaceus), Hamlyn's Monkeys (Cercopithecus hamlyni), Toque Macaques (Macaca sinica) and White-fronted Lemurs (Eulemur albifrons). Even though it’s not ideal for photography, I quite liked the way the slanted glass looked, especially with the lowered pathway in front. These enclosures, and most indoor exhibits in this building in general seemed more spacious than the average city zoo primate house, so I was rather pleased by that, even though there were of course some exceptions. Other highlights in this part of the zoo include Bear Macaques (Macaca arctoides) and the Zoo’s quite impressive male Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx). These two species we only saw the second time around, when we also passed the outdoor enclosures housing the collection of apes consisting of Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii), Bonobos (Pan paniscus), Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and Common Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Not all of these outdoor enclosures seemed up to today's standards, but since we weren't that interested in the apes we didn't stop to have a proper look at all of them.

    Next: Onto the carnivores!